> Mosses, Liverworts, Hornworts | Lycophytes | Early Land Plants | Ferns and Relatives | Horsetails and Relatives | "Progymnosperms" | Gymnosperms | Angiosperms | Spores and Pollen | Phytoliths | Plant-like Fossils

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(85 total)

Alnus and Metasequoia
Alnus and Metasequoia
© 2003 Roland Gangloff, University of Alaska Museum

Lebachia piniformis
Lebachia piniformis
© 1998 Dr. Richard Paselk, Humboldt State University Natural History Museum

Eusphenopteris sp.
© 1998 Tom Maier

What are Plants? The Plantae, or plants, are one of the most abundant and diverse groups of organisms on Earth, with more than 250,000 species known. Plants have a rigid cell wall around each cell and produce their own food by capturing light energy in pigments like chlorophyll. They convert this energy into sugar, starch, and other foods that plants need to survive. Some fossils that appear to be from plants date back to the Ordovician, but the first unquestioned occurrences of plant fossils are from the Late Silurian.

Note: Although some green algae are closely related to plants, they differ in aspects of their morphology, lifecycle, and habitat, and they are discussed in Protists.

First known fossil occurrence: Ordovician.

Last known fossil occurrence: Quaternary. This group has living relatives.

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